This guitar has been around and done its work. There’s plenty of dings and scratches and such, and the most beautiful checking in the finish from age and temperature changes and such. There is specific damage in one area of the finish on the face of the guitar. It would be mostly under the pick guard if there was a pick guard on the guitar. We have the original pick guard and the hardware, but it is unusable (melted and broken). There are the usual binding issues that you often see on old Gretsch guitars. If you want to fix, you’d need to just redo all the binding (which would look great). For now, our luthier just glued down the loose pieces to keep it from getting worse. I like it as is and aren’t interested in repairing the binding, but to each their own. There is a repair that is on the headstock (see pics). It’s not a perfect repair, but it’s sturdy. If it was the only cosmetic issue with the guitar, it would be an ugly repair, but it’s kind of in character with this old guitar, like the finish damage on the face). Also, the guitar must have been strung lefty at some point because there are two tiny holes where the pick guard was put on the other side of the guitar at some point. Also one of the tuning buttons (the one for the G string) is cracked, and it makes me nervous to turn it, so I currently have it taped. I’d probably just replace the one button if it broke.
So, to be clear, this is no daisy. It’s an old man for sure. When I first got it, it smelled like smoke and old bars. I’ve aired it out well, so it doesn’t smell bad anymore (it actually smells good). But you can see that it probably aged in smokey and bar-like atmospheres. It definitely hasn’t seen the inside of a glass case.
This is a rare 1952 Archtop Acoustic Gretsch Synchromatic. The Gretsch serial numbers can be dated here.
From our research, these models were referred to both as the Synchromatic 100F and the 6014. You will see them with and more commonly without the super cool bridge that is on this one. The bridge may have been a factory upgrade option or they may have started with that and cut it out due to cutting costs maybe, not sure. Or maybe that is what the F is for in the 100F… not sure. What we do know is that this guitar is awesome.
What’s great about the guitar? It’s a joy to play, addictive even. It has a kind of mojo that is difficult to describe. I seem to choose it more than any others on the wall. Just feels good. It has a chunky neck that is a V, but not like an old Gibson, it’s an offset and rounded V and low great action (with room on the adjustable bridge to go as low as you want). I had electric 10’s on it and it was fun to play but a little too much squeakin’ and tinny sound. I put flat wound jazz 10’s on it, and I’m really digging it. It has just enough of the old wooden box tinny-ness, which is how I play it (as opposed to a jazz box, but not too much like I feel that the electric 10’s were giving it. Some folks put heavy gauge strings on these archtops and swear by it. The sound is wooden archtop – woody and cuts through. I know these were jazz guitars, but I like playing it for country/folky/bluesy music. I think the guitar is super cool looking – the aging, the checking, the bridge, the tailpiece!, and even the finish damage on the face.
The guitar is all original, as far as I know. And has the original case.